Residents welcome return of St James SOE

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

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PRIME Minister Andrew Holness yesterday announced a state of public emergency in Hanover, St James and Westmoreland, which will remain in effect for 14 days.

In January 2018, the Government declared the enhanced security measures in St James, but last December the parliamentary Opposition voted against its extension. Up to April 22 this year, 49 murders were recorded in the parish, an increase of almost 70 per cent over the corresponding period last year.

Yesterday, Jamaica Observer freelance photographer Alan Lewis took to the streets of Montego Bay to find out if people are in agreement with the return of the state of public emergency in St James. Here are some of the responses:

Dwight Myles, referee

Yes. It did upset me when they left a few months ago. They should never stop the states of public emergency, because as them stop the killing start. The people of Jamaica should work with the Government and make all people safe.

Nadine Westney, nurse

Well, to me, if that's what the Government have to do to let the crime cut and the place safer, I have no problem. I welcome its return, but I hope they don't abuse the law-abiding citizens.

Keisha Morris, customer service representative

Yes, I welcome the return of the state of public emergency. Violence will stop a bit, although there may be a little killing and robbing, but this news is good for St James.

Towain Guthrie, vendor

Yes, I am glad for the return. Even Monday night them kill people in St James. Mi glad that the soldiers will start patrol the city again.

Shanaye Bell, secretary

Judging from the last time, I don't think the state of emergency will have its teeth. It don't get the amount of guns that they should get out of the hands of criminals. It needs more results to show its worth.

Shana Lee Barrett, customer service representative

It's a good thing. I welcome its return. The Government has to do what is necessary to make the citizens safe. We have to work with it.

Christopher Hylton, businessman

I think this is a very remarkable move by the Government. It demonstrates how caring and concerned the Government is for the lives of all Jamaicans. Prior to the suspension of the state of public emergency in January, residents in crime-plagued communities like Norwood, Glendevon and Flanker were actually able to walk about in their communities freely, even sleeping with their doors open.

This is truly a moment to celebrate and I hope the Opposition will cooperate with the Government to extend the SOEs when they expire within the next 14 days, not for political reasons, but for the saving of lives of the people of Jamaica.

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